Hudson made her singing debut in church at the age of seven, and continued singing in local Chicago talent shows throughout her teens. By age 19, she landed her first professional job in the musical Big River and went on to work for Disney Cruise Lines. Although she placed a disappointing seventh on the third season of American Idol in 2004, she bounced back when she won the career-making role of Effie White in the lauded 2006 movie musical Dreamgirls. Not only did Hudson eclipse her costar Beyoncé Knowles with her powerful performance as an ugly-duckling diva, but she also beat out season 3 American Idol winner Fantasia Barrino for the role. Hudson quickly racked up numerous accolades for her work in the film, including a Golden Globe, a SAG Award and an Oscar for best supporting actress. Her successful vocals led to her first record deal and a self-titled album. Hudson followed her movie debut with a supporting spot in the blockbuster film version of Sex and the City and in 2010 became a spokesperson for Weight Watchers.